We started a new series this past Sunday. Entitled As You Go, it talks about developing a lifestyle that reflects that of Christ, particularly in regards to serving others. What does it take to develop a mind like that of Christ in this area of our lives? How do we learn to let serving become second nature for us without it being about "vain conceit or selfish gain" (Phil. 2:3-4)?
It made me think back to a portion of C. S. Lewis' classic book, The Screwtape Letters. In this fictional recounting of communication between a high ranking demon and his protege nephew, Wormwood, Lewis addresses this subject of self. I think he hits on an important tactic of our enemy, the Devil.
He encourages Wormwood to continue to push his "patient" (the man he is trying to control) by convincing him that he needs so many things. In fact, he becomes frustrated with Wormwood when he discovers that the patient has been allowed time to enjoy a book, a walk and time with friends.
In other words, the nightmare of the enemy is when followers of Christ discover that we don't need most of what we seek. The simple pleasures of this life are more satisfying, more enduring. But think about how little we pursue the simple pleasures and how much of our lives is spent on chasing down the things that just do not matter. Greater promotions, larger homes, nicer clothes--they not only require much of us to secure them but they require even greater amounts of us to keep them. In doing so, we lose so much focus and we lose this heart that God has given us to serve. We get focused on the "me" to the point that we lose "them." And "them" is where God would rather we spend our lives...having the mind of Christ (Phil 2:5)